Sydney, New South Wales
Darlinghurst Road, Kings Cross
|Location||2 km (1 mi) east of Sydney CBD|
|LGA(s)||City of Sydney|
Kings Cross is an inner-city locality of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is located approximately 2 kilometres east of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Sydney. It is bounded by the suburbs of Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay, Rushcutters Bay and Darlinghurst.
Colloquially known as The Cross, the area was once known for its music halls and grand theatres. It was rapidly transformed after World War II by the influx of troops returning and visiting from the nearby Garden Island naval base. It became known as Sydney's night entertainment and red-light district; however, many nightclubs, bars and adult entertainment venues closed due to the Sydney lockout laws.Today, it is a mixed locality offering services such as a railway station, gyms, supermarkets and bakeries as well as entertainment venues including bars, restaurants, nightclubs, brothels and strip clubs.
The intersection of William Street, Darlinghurst Road and Victoria Street at the locality's southernmost limit was named Queen's Cross to celebrate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee in 1897. Confusion with Queen's Square in King Street in the city prompted its renaming as Kings Cross, after King Edward VII, in 1905.
During the early 19th century the Darlinghurst area, which extended to include current day Kings Cross, was one of Sydney's most prestigious locations, being far enough to escape the noise and smell of the central city but close enough for easy travel. An additional attraction was the commanding harbour views to the east and north and (from some points) views to the west as far as the Blue Mountains.
In 1828, the Governor of New South Wales Sir Ralph Darling subdivided the area, then known as Woolloomooloo Hill, into large allotments which he granted seventeen estates to favoured subordinates and leading businessmen. They built a series of grandiose mansions with sprawling gardens of up to ten acres (4 ha). The remnants of these gardens helped give the area its leafy character, and many of the mansions are commemorated through street names such as Roslyn, Orwell and Kellett. Most of the grand estates were ultimately subdivided with all but a handful of the great houses demolished. One of the surviving homes, located nearby in the suburb of Elizabeth Bay, is Elizabeth Bay House, a quintessential example of Australian colonial architecture. Others, now used for other purposes, include Tusculum in Manning Street and Rockwall.A prominent past resident of this era was David Scott Mitchell.
The estates that Governor Darling granted to the emerging merchant class and professional elite shaped the development of the area that came to be known as Kings Cross. The mansions built on these estates such as Tusculum remain today as leading examples of architectural design in colonial Australia.
Subdivision plans also known as estate maps were produced from the mid-19th to mid-20th century and advertised estates and subdivisions of land for sale. They illustrate the urban development of Sydney as large estates were divided up and transformed into the suburbs of Sydney.
The estates and mansions are commemorated through street names such as Roslyn, Orwell and Kellett, as documented in the gallery of subdivision maps.
The Kings Cross district was Sydney's bohemian heartland from the early decades of the 20th century. The illegal trading of alcohol, known as sly grog , was notorious in the area up until mid-century, led by rival brothel owners, Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh.The area was home to a large number of artists, including writers, poets and journalists such as Kenneth Slessor, Christopher Brennan, Hal Porter, George Sprod and Dame Mary Gilmore, entrepreneur Mayfield B. Anthony, actors including Peter Finch and Chips Rafferty, and painters Sir William Dobell and Rosaleen Norton.
From the 1960s onwards Kings Cross also came to serve as both the city's main tourist accommodation and entertainment mecca, as well as its red-light district. It thereby achieved a high level of notoriety out of all proportion to its limited geographical extent. Hundreds of American servicemen on R & R (rest and recreation) leave flocked to the area each week in search of entertainment. Organised crime and police corruption were well entrenched in the area – one of Sydney's most notorious illegal casinos operated with impunity for many years, although it was known to all and located only yards from Darlinghurst police station. Much of this activity can be related with Abe Saffron, commonly known as Mr Sin or "the boss of the Cross".
A positive influence in the area during that time was the Wayside Chapel, run by Rev Ted Noffs. His church was open most of the time, providing a "drop in centre" and counselling services to many of the itinerants who were drawn to the area. The Ted Noffs Foundation Inc, established in 1971,continues his work supporting young people and their families who are experiencing drug and alcohol problems and related trauma.
Juanita Nielsen, a journalist and publisher, campaigned against property development in the Kings Cross area during the 1970s until her sudden disappearance on 4 July 1975. A coronial inquest determined that Nielsen had been murdered, and although the case has never been officially solved, it is widely believed that Nielsen was killed by agents of the developers.
As a celebration to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, the inaugural Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras pro-gay rights protest march was held on the evening of 24 June 1978. After the protest march, participants were subject to police harassment in Hyde Park, following the revocation of the original protest permit. Some participants headed to Kings Cross where police arrested 53 people, although most of the charges were later dropped.Australia's first widely known transgender person, Carlotta, rose to prominence in Kings Cross whilst working at Les Girls, The Tender Trap, and soap opera Number 96 (TV series).
From the late 1960s, drug-related crime was one of the area's main social problems. In 2001, despite controversy, Australia's first Medically Supervised Injecting Centre was established (where users of illegal drugs can inject themselves at a safe injection site in clean conditions) at a shopfront site in Kings Cross. The injecting room is credited with reducing the occurrence of fatal overdoses in the injecting drug user community, as well as reducing the number of needles left in the street, with an interim evaluation report in 2007 claiming:
The reduction in opioid-related overdoses was much more substantial in the immediate vicinity of the MSIC than in other neighbouring areas. ... Counts of discarded needles and syringes collected locally indicated a decrease of around 50% following the establishment of the service.
Today, the ongoing operation of tourist accommodation, the proximity to social housing and health care, and the convenient public transport to the city result in a diverse population, both resident and passing through at Kings Cross. Since the introduction of controversial lockout laws in March 2014 several nightclubs and pubs in the area have closed down.
Kings Cross has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
Events and celebrations
As of 2019, it is estimated 4,948 people live within the locality’s 0.17 km2 (0.066 sq mi) area. In 2018, the local area (including Potts Point and Woolloomooloo) was recognized as the second most densely populated in Australia.
Darlinghurst is an inner-city, eastern suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Darlinghurst is located immediately east of the Sydney central business district (CBD) and Hyde Park, within the local government area of the City of Sydney.
The Eastern Suburbs is the metropolitan region directly to the east and south-east of the central business district in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
The South Sydney City Council was a former local government area covering the inner-eastern and inner-Southern Sydney suburbs of Sydney. It was forcibly merged with the Sydney City Council by the New South Wales State Government in 2004. The council chambers were located in the Erskineville Town Hall, with the administrative offices at Joynton Avenue in Zetland. The administrative offices were relocated to the TNT tower building in Redfern in 2001.
Potts Point is a small and densely populated area in inner-city Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Potts Point is located 2 kilometres east of the Sydney central business district and is part of the local government area of the City of Sydney.
SCEGGS Darlinghurst is an independent Anglican single-sex primary and secondary day and boarding school for girls, located in Darlinghurst, an inner-city, eastern suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Elizabeth Bay is a harbourside suburb in eastern Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Elizabeth Bay is located three kilometres east of the Sydney central business district and is part of the local government area of the City of Sydney.
William Street is a 1.4-kilometre-long (0.87 mi) major thoroughfare in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
The Bayswater Road is a 600-metre-long (2,000 ft) minor street in the Kings Cross district of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
St Vincent's Hospital is located in Darlinghurst, New South Wales, an inner suburb of Sydney. Though funded and integrated into the New South Wales state public health system, it is operated by St Vincent's Health Australia. It is affiliated with the University of Tasmania College of Health and Medicine and the University of New South Wales Medical School.
Elizabeth Bay House is a heritage-listed Colonial Regency style house and now a museum and grotto, located at 7 Onslow Avenue in the inner eastern Sydney suburb of Elizabeth Bay in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. The design of the house is attributed to John Verge and John Bibb and was built from 1835 to 1839 by James Hume. The grotto and retaining walls were designed by Verge and the carriage drive on Onslow Avenue was designed by Edward Deas Thomson and built from 1832 to 1835 by convict and free artisans under the direction of Verge. The property is owned by Sydney Living Museums, an agency of the Government of New South Wales. Known as "the finest house in the colony", Elizabeth Bay House was originally surrounded by a 22-hectare (54-acre) garden, and is now situated within a densely populated inner city suburb.
Victoria Street is a suburban street located in the inner eastern suburbs of Sydney, in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. From south to north, Victoria Street goes through the suburbs of Darlinghurst, Potts Point and the locality of Kings Cross. It is 1.6 kilometres (0.99 mi) in length. The section located in Darlinghurst, the street is one-way, from north to south only.
Kenilworth is a historic house in the Sydney suburb of Potts Point, New South Wales, Australia. Completed in 1869 in the Victorian Rustic Gothic Revival style, the sandstone house is now part of St Luke's Care.
The Minerva Theatre was a theatre located in Orwell Street in Kings Cross, Sydney. Originally a live venue, it was converted to the Metro Cinema in 1950, before returning to live shows in 1969. It ceased operating as a theatre in 1979.
Oakleigh is a heritage-listed residence and former boarding house at 18 Ward Avenue in the inner city Sydney suburb of Potts Point in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was built c. 1880 on the former estate of the now-demolished Goderich Lodge. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.
55 Victoria Street is a heritage-listed residence and former boarding house and Catholic Women's Association hostel located at 55 Victoria Street in the inner city Sydney suburb of Potts Point in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was built in 1875. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.
Tusculum is a heritage-listed former residence and now offices at 1-3 Manning Street in the inner city Sydney suburb of Potts Point in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was built from 1831 to 1837 to the design of John Verge for successful businessman Alexander Brodie Spark. It was then let to influential cleric William Broughton, the first and only Anglican Bishop of Australia and later inaugural Bishop of Sydney, from 1836 to 1851. It is owned today by the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.
Rockwall is a heritage-listed house and former school at 7 Rockwall Crescent in the inner city Sydney suburb of Potts Point in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was designed by John Verge and built from 1831 to 1837. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.
Jenner House is a heritage-listed residence located at 2 Macleay Street in the inner city Sydney suburb of Potts Point in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was designed by Edmund Blacket and built in 1871, with an 1877 third-floor addition designed by Thomas Rowe. It has also been known as Fleet Club, Stramshall, Jenner Private Hospital, Kurragheen and Lugano. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.
Gowrie Gate is an Art Deco building located at 115 Macleay Street, Potts Point, Sydney, Australia. Situated on the south-west corner of Macleay Street and Orwell Street it was designed by Architect, Dudley Ward and built by S.D.C. Kennedy & Bird Pty. Ltd with building works completed in 1938. The building was sold in its entirety for £80,000 in 1939. The spread of flats in the 1920s and 30s was one of the most marked developments in Sydney housing. Flat development was booming along with population and the area exhibited a concentration of Sydney buildings designed in the Art Deco style. Ward's influential designs for both this building and The Wroxton apartments, looked to European experiments, picking up on innovations in public housing in Germany and Holland. The building consists of 7 floors and a basement. It is constructed in an Art Deco style from red textured brick. When completed the building consisted of 53 self contained flats, four penthouses, two professional suites and six shops facing Macleay Street and Orwell Streets. The building originally featured a number of open balconies on the Orwell Street facade, but many of these have been infilled over the years to provide more living space. The entry foyer and ground floor retains some original features such as a large hanging lantern along with sections of original walnut paneling. Although not heritage listed the building is a contributory item within the Potts Point/Elizabeth Bay Heritage Conservation Area.
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